MIO Global (the Link, Alpha, Velo people) get $15m funding

MIO SLICE and PAIFrom the makers of the MIO Link wrist-based HR strap and the former supplier of licenced optical HR technology to Garmin for the Forerunner 225 comes…

Something new

Mio Global has announced $15 million in Series B funding through an investment led by Hydra Ventures. They plan to use this funding to develop the already-announced SLICE wearable that delivers their proprietary Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) index.

Founder Liz Dickinson says, “The era of the heart rate has finally arrived … Multiple wearables offer accessible, unobtrusive heart rate monitoring, yet most consumers do not fully agree with the heart rate sensing capabilities or do not know how to make sense of heart rate data. PAI solves this problem by using one simple metric that is far more meaningful and personalized than counting 10,000 steps. This new investment will be used to fuel continued growth and develop future technologies that will improve global health.”

OK, it’s not new but now they seem to have the money to do it. I wondered why we had not yet seen anything on the shelves. The photo to the right was of a non-functioning unit that I took much earlier this year.

In July 2016 MIO Global also announced a link-up with PEAR sports. That seemed interesting at the time.

OPINION: PAI appears to be a very similar concept to TRIMP which also works at lower intensities. It appears to also to, perhaps, work by assigning different scores to different levels of ‘movement’ rather than to different levels of heart rate (like TRIMP). This seems like a perfectly fine idea in principle, although I’m not sure how it meaningfully differs from what the likes of Garmin and Polar already do in this area.

Perhaps MIO’s nuance is that PAI works at lower levels of activity? Perhaps. But for most people the difference in physiological response to activity at 90bpm compared to 100bpm is trivial (using HR as a proxy for activity level).

Personally I don’t get it – from the sense of uniqueness and relevance to the market. I did ask the MIO presenter similar questions at the Excel Wearables show in Spring 2016 but didn’t get an explanatory answer.

The bracelet seems to be aesthetically in need of a 2017 revamp. This marketplace is highly competitive with trends moving towards aesthetically pleasing devices that are functional. Functionality seems to be accepting the need to address lower levels (and above) of fitness efforts. ie more than just simple activity/steps/stairs. Fair enough, a simple PAI-like metric does seem superficially interesting and to the point. Perhaps most activity tracking people want a simple number?

The MIO Link remains a great product (oHRM), some may sound ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘pioneering’. I’d be one of those people. I remain to be convinced about the SLICE and PAI.

 

———– Press Release Verbatim follows ————–

 

Mio Global Announces $15 Million USD in Series B Funding Led by Hydra Ventures

 

The heart rate technology company will use the funds to bring Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) and Mio SLICE to market, which will introduce breakthrough technology that will positively impact global health

Vancouver, British Columbia – October 18, 2016 – Mio Global, known for the most accurate wrist-based heart rate technology, today announces $15M USD in funding led by Hydra Ventures with participation from private investors.

Founded by IT industry veteran Liz Dickinson, the company has been a long-time pioneer and industry leader in heart rate monitoring technology. Mio Global disrupted the wearable tech industry by becoming the first company to introduce a continuous optical heart rate sensor in a sports wrist watch, the Mio ALPHA, which offers EKG-level accuracy for fitness training and day-to-day monitoring.

Recently, Mio introduced “PAI” (Personal Activity Intelligence) – a ground-breaking personal health metric that is backed by (a) leading scientific research and (b) an intelligent software platform that uses heart rate to track the body’s response to all types of physical activity while providing actionable and personalized feedback to help users maintain optimal health. PAI captures everything a user needs to know about their heart rate activity in the form of a simple score, and provides a clear actionable goal: keep your PAI score at 100 or above.

Mio will continue to draw on the expertise provided by Hydra Ventures as it scales, and the funding will be partially used to further develop Mio’s AI-based sensor analytics and insights platform within PAI that was acquired from the Nobel Prize winning Norwegian University of Science and Technology. In addition, the funding will be used to launch the Mio SLICE, which is the next generation of Mio’s best-in-class wrist-based wearables and is the first activity tracker to capture all-day heart rate data and display PAI directly on the wristband. Mio envisions that SLICE will become a strong reference design for other companies interested in licensing PAI and Mio’s highly accurate sensor IP.

“The era of heart rate has finally arrived. Multiple wearables offer accessible, unobtrusive heart rate monitoring, yet most consumers do not fully engage with the heart rate sensing capabilities or do not know how to make sense of heart rate data,” said Liz Dickinson, Founder and CEO of Mio Global. “PAI solves this problem by using one simple metric that is far more meaningful and personalized than counting 10,000 steps. This new investment will be used to fuel continued growth and develop future technologies that will improve global health.”

PAI was invented by world-renowned exercise physiologist and high intensity interval training pioneer Dr. Ulrik Wisloff, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the Head of Cardiac Exercise Research Group and K.G. Jebsen Centre for Exercise in Medicine. PAI has been scientifically validated based on the HUNT Study, one of the largest health studies ever conducted in which more than 60,000 individuals were closely monitored during a period of 20 years. Users earn PAI points during all of their daily physical activities, and the goal is to maintain a PAI score at or above 100 over a seven-day rolling window. The PAI metric provides each individual with a personalized activity guideline that is scientifically proven to help maximize longevity by up to ten years and reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases by up to 38 percent. The PAI study will be published in a major medical journal this year.

 

 

 

 

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